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on July 4, 2004
this volume is an extremely valuable lesson from a true leader in the field. Wodtke provides insight into the thinking behind some of the most-used services on the Internet today.
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on February 19, 2004
This book won't present shocking facts about IA but it puts in writing many things that come in handy when you have to work in this field. The author includes good examples and the book can be read from cover to cover without feeling overwhelmed. Overall, it's worth taking the time out to read a book like this.
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Three first chapters are quite original. But nothing new in the rest of the book. Good ideas. But I won't say that is a basic book or a must read. Is interesting for people who builds websites or deeply interested in them. Is a mixture of usability, test, architecture. And you cannot say the last word on every topic in the world in 300 pages.
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on August 28, 2003
I suppose Wodtke knows everything there is to know about IA, but I not so sure about her book writing skills...
Given that she claims that "yes, it's a short book" (false modesty at 350 pages?) it's surprising to notice the number of digressions - into some pretty lame issues, perspectives and tips:
- How she got the idea of writing a book.
- What the book is not about.
- A 30 page discussion of guidelines she does not support.
- A comprehensive guide to the pros and cons of different ways to draw people, e.g. stick people.
- A note that you need a big notebook or a whiteboard and some markers if you want to do some topic mapping.
- A tip that when receiving guests you might break the ice by asking if it was easy to find the way.
Actually, I learned quite a few things by reading this book, but I call for the editor to wake up and give Wodtke some decent advise if she decides to go for a follow up. Any half decent editor could take a hundred pages out of this book in an hour, ending up with a much better read.
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on May 12, 2003
When reading the book I was briefly enthralled by her critical take on the standard (guru) guidelines for good site design - but it should have been a warning on what was to come: a mixing of usability, design and information architecture. Off course the three disciplines mingle in every site development, but in a book called Information Architecture it should dedicate all its pages to that subject - but all too often I find myself halfway through a chapter before realizing that it is mainly about design and usability (or even project management) and only secondly about information architecture.
Another thing that seriously degrades the focus is what I see as a shameless attempt to make the book thicker by including non relevant material. On pages describing the organizing of content she manages to use up half a page with a picture of her husband with the caption "Looks cold, doesn't he?".
She could also have spent more time organizing the book's content. With chapters named "Making It All Up, Writing It All Down", "All Together Now" and "Eat Me, Drink Me, Push Me" it is impossible to navigate in, impossible to look for some kind of principle behind the organizing of the content.
The book should have been called "Site Development: IA, Design and Usability for the newcomer".
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on May 5, 2003
While most people reading this book do so for Web development, it has absolutely amazing tenets for use in e-learning. Information architecture, as with usability are to be studied and emphasized over and over again. Wodtke does an excellent job of creating a personal and compelling set of arguments. A must have resource.
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While well written and entertaining, the author fails in this book to present a volume with any real depth. If one is in search of a book that explains information architecture and provides some really good guidelines, this is, however, such a book.
The reader is directed to carefully plan the Web site, to commit it to paper first and to do a prototype which should then be shown to others for their input as users.
All this is fine. But she seems to thumb her nose at credible usability experts (while not naming them one senses one is Jakob Nielsen) by attempting to prove that the rules don't really matter all that much.
That would be obvious when you visit her personal Web site, ... You'll find locating links a considerable task.
I am sure she's very professional and very good at what she does. But this book did not speak to my desire to better understand usability and information architecture in a manner that I could adapt to my own work immediately. It was more of a survey of IA.
I much prefer the work and exhaustive studies of Jakob Nielson and others who provide workable ideas that have proven themselves over time. The author of this book doesn't seem to hold with their findings. And indeed, one must know the rules and then set about to improve on them. So I have no argument with her here.
My argument is that she puts no stock in the "rules" yet she fails to offer any alternatives. Had she done so, the book would have been a breakthrough read. It was not.
Susanna K. Hutcheson
Owner and Executive Copy Director
Powerwriting.com LLC
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on February 7, 2003
After having seemingly slagged off every book I read these days, I was delighted to pick up a new book and enjoy it - particularly on a subject as seemingly done-to-death as Usability/ Information Architecture/ Experience Design.
Wodtke manages to make a rather tedious subject interesting - even exciting, like her blogs are. She writes in a very readable manner; neither trite like Steve Krug, pompous like Jakob Nielsen nor buttock-clenchingly academic and dull like Jesse James Garrett. Thoroughly recommended
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on January 30, 2003
If your headache is how to overcome maintainance problems in any type of web site, then this book will be of tremendous help to you. It was designed for web designers/administrators whose responsibilities include the design and maintainance of very complex web sites. Its message is cogent and comprehensive. Anybody who listens to it would discover easy ways of designing web sites and flexible intranets which support growth, navigation, management, and above all, ease of use.
This is one book whose advice would ensure that most web emergencies are adequately controlled.
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on January 9, 2003
Although best read by practitioners of information architecture (or those who peripherally practice it) this book is like Steve Krug's book in that it's no-nonsense, witty, erudite but not dry and has a solid thesis, readably espoused, passionately argued and well presented.
It should be on every web designer/ web project/ software architect's book shelf.
An A+
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